Classic & Contemporary - The Bend Magazine

Classic & Contemporary

Mixing contemporary and antique styles to help create a laid-back look.

By: Jacqueline Gonzalez  Photos by: Jason Page

Four years ago, Rachel Neff moved back to the Coastal Bend to be closer to family, and in a small subdivision called The Enclave, she found the perfect empty lot to build the home of her dreams. When designing her house, Rachel decided on shades of white, cream, brown, and gray – with the occasional pop of color – to create a classic and relaxing ambiance. In order to achieve a classic and modern space, she opted for the clever combination of old and new pieces to create a calm atmosphere. 

Varied tones are essential to bring life to a neutral room, and although Rachel uses the same color scheme throughout the home, she incorporates different textures, wood designs, antiques, and contemporary decor. Once she set that neutral foundation in her home, she had the perfect backdrop from which to incorporate colorful accents to enliven each room. 

Pops of color are peppered throughout the home via the addition of throw pillows, florals, artwork, and other accessories. Rachel’s vibrant accessorizing keeps the classic vibe of her chosen color palette intact, but also makes the whole space feel fresh and different.  

Adding wooden furniture to the classic color palette was a must for Rachel, especially since she had so many antiques to display. Over the years, she has amassed many pieces; some from stores, and some passed down from family members. “Not many people like antiques, but I love them,” she says. “I can look at any piece in this house and tell you the story behind each one.” Some that stand out include the repurposed lighting fixture her mother found at an antique shop – after some re-wiring by Guess Lighting, the unique accessory was ready to adorn the home – and a hutch that belonged to her grandparents when they lived in Singapore.

Along with the many antiques and heirlooms, she also has some unique pieces, such as the re-stained Prohibition front door, complete with the small peephole door in the middle. The style alone isn’t what makes this door unique; the position from which the light shines into the house changes the shade of stain used on the door, and makes it look almost identical to the rest of the antiques in her home. Mixing vintage and contemporary pieces helps create an individualized and functional room while breathing life into the pieces themselves and the rooms in which they are placed, much like the contemporary geometric mirror sitting over an antique table and chair. The contrast between the two styles adds the right amount of visual interest and personality to the soft vibe of the entryway. 

With a minimalistic color foundation, making rooms relate to each other, especially in an open space, creates a unified feel. The kitchen and living room are closely connected, which works well for Rachel’s desire to have an open floor plan in this area. The kitchen island sits in the middle of the kitchen and dining room, which gives her the perfect space to gather with friends and colleagues when they visit. On the side of the island is a strategically placed small shelf just right for the cookbooks gifted to her by her mother every year. The cookbooks are a handy tool to have for finding recipes while entertaining a large crowd, but they also provide that essential burst of color that Rachel desires. The soft shade of the island and cabinetry provides the right amount of brightness for the stainless steel appliances and drawer and cabinet pulls to stand out. On the other side of the island are four uniquely shaped bar stools with wooden seats and iron legs. The industrial style of these chairs allows for a soft vintage look, while staying true to the classic décor.  

The soft neutrals continue to the living area, where they take a backseat to the wooden and metal pieces. Together, they create a open, inviting space that generates a welcoming and comfortable feel for Rachel’s guests. 

Although small, Rachel’s backyard is a haven for relaxation, with wicker seating decorated with bright cushions overlooking a fence ensconced in greenery and florals. The bright orange wooden rocker adds a colorful touch, while the mini rolling cart filled with potted herbs fills the space with fragrance. 

The fresh and timeless vibe of Rachel’s home makes it unique and  promises a relaxing, lively, and inviting atmosphere.